I knew from the start that the only way to make this work, and to stick with it through the week of hell that is expected when you cut sugar from your diet (those other things, too, but sugar is the easiest to blame) is to MAKE EVERY MEAL INCREDIBLE! Because it’s impossible for me to complain about missing my mid-afternoon chocolate fix when I just ate the most delicious lunch EVER. (Okay, maybe not impossible…I’m sure I’ll find a way to complain about it, but…I can’t encourage a deprivation mentality. That will only lead to self-pity and compromise.)
So how did that go?
Breakfast: sweet potato, sausage, and spinach hash. I LOVE this recipe! I first made it for a family with a new baby, who tries to eat paleo, and it smelled so amazing that I started making it for myself. I always add more sweet potatoes and spinach than called for, to stretch the recipe a bit more. And I love it with sage sausage, for an extra kick of flavor. (To stretch the food a bit further, so we could feed four breakfasts on two mornings, I added a fried egg to mine this morning.)
Lunch: superfood salad with shrimp. This was another old standby. It’s the salad I make for myself when I’ve forgotten how to love food. It’s a bit pricey – the pomegranate arils are not cheap, and sometimes I leave them out. For the first time, I added shrimp, which was a HUGE BONUS.
And this brings me to my second motivational tool – FOOD ADVENTURES!
I knew that, if I kept making the same old things, only removing sugar and dairy and grains, I’d not only be experiencing that deprivation mentioned above, but I’d be SO! BORED! Instead, I’m challenging myself to cook things I’ve never cooked before, which adds a sense of adventure and empowerment to the huge amount of work that goes into preparing three big meals a day.
(Isn’t it magical the way shrimp turns from icky grey-brown to that bright coral? And look at those cute spirals!)
All of the meals above were prepared on Sunday, waiting for us in the fridge. I’m learning how important it is to prepare as much as possible before the week starts, because WORKING FULL-TIME is a thing. For instance, does anyone else find it strange that most crock pot meals call for 4-5 hours of cook time? Wouldn’t 8-10 be more suitable? (Cooking on low instead of high is an option, but I’m not tackling that until I buy a meat thermometer.)
So, at lunchtime, I came home to enjoy my superfood salad, and then gave a chicken a bath.
[Not including a picture of the naked raw chicken, even though I totally have one.]
I used this crock pot recipe, and I didn’t realize that “cook until the chicken is falling off the bones” literally meant the chicken would collapse into the sweet onion broth as soon as I poked it!
I fished the meat out, and we ate it with some steamed carrots and garlic collards and spinach (I waited until the collards were cooked down to add the spinach).
Since the chicken and onion juices looked delicious, I added some water and celery and turned the crock pot back on to make some broth. Adventures!
And the leftover chicken, along with a store-bought rotisserie chicken, went into this:
It’s Giada’s Chicken Salad, and it smells AMAZING! I made it without the honey in the viniagrette, and added some extra onions and red wine vinegar to give it an extra punch. We packed that, along with some lettuce from our neighbor’s garden, for lunch on Day Two.